Mark Wilson sent Celtic into the quarter-finals of the Scottish Cup and landed a clear psychological blow on Rangers for the SPL title run-in after a bad tempered encounter at Parkhead last night. Steven Whittaker and Madjid Bougherra both saw red in a tie which also featured 10 yellow cards.
Celtic dominated the opening spell and looked dangerous when Gary Hooper beat David Weir for pace, only to be denied the shot at goal by fine defending from Richard Foster. Kris Commons then tried to pick out Daniel Majstorovic in front of goal from another set piece but Kyle Bartley was first to the ball to nod clear, before Ki Sung-yeung blasted over from distance.
Whittaker picked up the first yellow card of the game for a foul on Ki, before Majstorovic followed him into the book for a mistimed tackle on El Hadji Diouf. But it was Whittaker's caution which was to prove costly when he was dismissed with 35 minutes gone when he earned a second yellow card for a challenge on Emilio Izaguirre.
The red card was quickly followed by a verbal exchange between Diouf and the Celtic manager, Neil Lennon, which resulted in a caution for the Rangers forward, with Rangers assistant Ally McCoist also hauled back by his manager, Walter Smith. Lennon and McCoist were then both given a lecture by the referee.
Once the action was under way again, a poor back pass from Maurice Edu let Georgios Samaras through on goal and he should have had the net bulging but Allan McGregor blocked superbly.
As the teams headed down the tunnel at half-time, there were more confrontations – with Diouf again in the middle of things. Celtic opened the scoring and soon after the restart. Izaguirre burst down the left flank before crossing for Wilson whose initial effort was nodded off the line by Sasa Papac before the follow-up with a drive bounced off the turf and into the back of the net.
Bougherra was then booked for a foul on Hooper, ruling him out of the next round. Samaras then passed up another great chance, this time shrugging off Bartley to race onto Scott Brown's pass – only to see his shot crash off the post.
Bougherra was sent off in injury time for a bad challenge on Kris Commons and Diouf followed suit for dissent after the final whistle.
Celtic (4-4-2): Zaluska; Wilson, Majstorovic, Mulgrew, Izaguirre; Brown, Ki, Kayal, Commons; Hooper, Samaras. Substitutes not used Cervi (gk), Juarez, Stokes, Rogne, Forrest.
Rangers (4-4-2): McGregor; Foster, Weir, Bougherra, Papac (Wylde, 51); Bartley, Whittaker, Edu, Davis; Fleck (Hutton, h-t), Diouf. Substitutes not used Alexander (gk), Healy, Kerkar.
Referee C Murray (Scotland).